We’ve designed the Early Childhood Education Center to be a place you’d love if you were two feet tall and just learning to finger paint. Imagine spaces configured just for you. Infant, toddler, and preschool rooms open onto a garden and outdoor play equipment. Teachers and caregivers pay close attention to your needs, treat you with respect, and nurture your curiosity. You have play structures, sandboxes, water features, and play stations to choose from. You eat nutritious, tasty meals with your friends. In this warm, challenging environment, you are both an individual and an integral member of the group.
- Program for Infant/Toddler Care
“I love our teachers. They do a great job loving my child, but also teaching him.”
– ECEP Parent
At ECEP, we follow the Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC), developed collaboratively by WestEd and the California Department of Education, to ensure that infants and toddlers get an emotionally secure, and intellectually rich start in life. ECEP establishes strong, loving caretaker/child bonds by following PITC’s six core principles. This relationship-based approach enables us to provide outstanding, loving care to each child at every age.
PITC Core Principles
Primary Care Provider: Each child has a primary care provider who is responsible for attending to that child’s needs.
Small Groups: ECEP follows best practice caretaker/child ratios for each age group served.
Continuity: ECEP provides a continuity of care, keeping the primary infant/toddler care provider and child together year after year whenever possible.
Individualized Care: Our caregivers respond promptly to each child’s individual needs.
Cultural Continuity: Our caregivers are sensitive to the cultural background of each child, and acknowledge and respect cultural differences.
Inclusion of Children with Special Needs: ECEP provides appropriate accommodation to support children with special needs to participate fully in the program.
- Learning through PlayThe ECEP follows a developmental play-based curriculum model, where children learn through play. Our program incorporates child-initiated free choice and teacher-initiated activities. We balance individual exploration with group projects. A wide range of activity stations – both indoors and outdoors – enable children to explore the world around them, and are designed to develop cognitive and social skills. We encourage physical activity, and children spend a great deal of time outside in our ample yards.
- Child-Centered, Integrated ApproachAt ECEP, we take a child-centered approach, ensuring that each student’s unique needs are met. We also believe that all aspects of development are interrelated – physical, social, cognitive, and emotional. Our program is designed to enable each child to develop their maximum potential.
“Our son has been with the same teachers for 3 years. Our center feels like a family, which is important for those living away from the family (grandparents, aunts and uncles).”
– ECEP Parent
For young infants, everything is "on demand." Babies eat when they are hungry, sleep when they are tired, are changed when they need diapering, and are cuddled and sung to regularly. We talk to our infants and always let them know what we are doing, so that they gain a sense of trust in the world. Our primary goal is to enhance in each child a sense of security and trust by giving consistent, responsive, observant, and respectful care.
Because our dedicated teachers stay at ECEP for many years, we are able to provide a continuity of care not always available in every early care and education setting. Many of our children have the same primary caretaker from infancy until they reach preschool.
- ToddlersFor toddlers, we create an environment that promotes self-confidence and independence. Feelings are validated; independence is encouraged. We provide structured and unstructured activities to promote cognitive growth, social skills and cooperation, emotional maturity, and physical development. Our indoor/outdoor play stations, as well as our group and independent activities, are geared toward the specific developmental needs of toddlers.
- PreschoolersOur play-based preschools teach children the skills they will need for kindergarten – as well as a positive sense of self and caring attitude toward others. The day incorporates child- and teacher-initiated activities. Free play is balanced with cooperative play, circle time, singing, and field trips. Through play, children learn logical reasoning, mathematical awareness, language arts, and problem-solving skills. Our teachers pay close attention to each child’s needs, and plan activities that guide their developmental growth in all areas.